Leading HSR deniers at the Reason Foundation are attacking Arnold for having supported Prop 1A and abandoning Milton Friedman's dogmatic economic conservatism:
What are some of these “necessary programs”? How about a $9.9 billion bond for a long-dreamed-of high-speed rail project between Los Angeles and San Francisco that is expected to cost at least $45 billion, which even supporters such as the Los Angeles Times editorial board think will require “many billions more” in subsidies?
As we repeatedly explained, the Reason Foundation willfully ignores the economic stimulus and long-term economic value of high speed trains, their overall savings to the traveler, and their overall savings in cost of energy used. It's no surprise that they're continuing to attack HSR and those who supported it as being fiscally irresponsible, as that is going to remain their central anti-HSR, anti-mass transit charge for at least the next decade.
That isn't to say Arnold Schwarzenegger is a paragon of fiscal responsibility. He continues to refuse to sign a budget deal, demanding concessions on privatization of government construction projects and weakening of environmental and labor protections. Although Democrats have agreed to most of this, Arnold wants all or nothing - and yet STILL refuses to say whether the Dems' workaround that avoids the 2/3rds rule is something he'll support.
As Obama debates and continues to make the wrong moves on the stimulus (in this case insisting it be capped at $775 billion when most economists say $1 trillion is best) Arnold's game of chicken with the state's solvency is particularly damaging. We already have shut down all infrastructure projects in the state to save money - precisely the opposite of what we should be doing, including spending the $950 million in Prop 1A on non-HSR trains as quickly as is practical.
California's delays and ongoing financial problems will likely be fodder for Congressional Republicans, who are already beginning to make noise about opposing Obama's spending plans. They will argue that we can't afford new government projects and may even filibuster the stimulus as they did with Clinton's 1993 stimulus. If that happens - and if Obama doesn't find a way to break it - then future spending plans, including the federal contribution to California HSR, will be imperiled.